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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Welcome all lovers of Vrindavana! This is Part Seven of our continuing series of articles glorifying Sridhama Vrindavana. Vraja [aka Vrindavana] is the divine realm wherein Sri Krishna loves, plays and sports with all and everyone. If you simply visit Vraja or live in Vraja, Gopala will enchant your heart by His sweet love, beauty, charm and naughty playfulness.

Filled with thousands of temples, Vrindavana is known as a “temple town”. In fact, the entire 168 sq. mile area of Vraja Mandala is adorned with thousands of temples, sacred places, mountains, rivers, lakes and bathing tanks.

Bhakti-ratnakara, a 500-year-old holy book penned by Gaudiya Acarya Sri Narahari Chakravarti, describes over 300 different inhabited villages still existing today in Vraja Mandala. Each village is named after and commemorated to a particular amazing pastime of Sri Krishna which occurred there.

Vraja Dhama ki jai ho! This is such a unique and captivating sacred place. In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can visit two villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila-to-lila, and on into Krishna’s heart.

These articles are meant to increase attract everyone more and more and more to this most astonishing, wonderland of pure love and never ending play. Sri Krishna’s pastime villages will be grouped by area like Kamavana, Govaradhana, Varsana, etc. The villages will be listed by their modern names. The origin of that name will appear in brackets after its English translation.

Sri Vraja Dhama ki jai!

Vraja Dhama! O, What an amazing sacred place? In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can visit two villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila to lila, and on into Krishna’s heart.

Nandagaon & Kokilavana Area Lila Villages

Now come, let us wander through the northern area of Vraja Mandala around Nandagrama to uncover more hidden lila sthalis full of bliss.

** Kosi (Kosikalan)
While waiting here in a kunja, Radhika pretends not to recognize Her eternal beloved when Syama knocks on the bamboo door.

“Who is that?”, Sri Radha tauntingly says from behind the door.
Krishna: I am Krishna.
Radha: O, a black snake has come here to bite Me? Just go from here, slither into the forest and leave Me alone. [word Krishna means black snake]
Krishna: No Priyaji, listen it’s Me—Ghanasyama!
Radha: O, no, no, no! I don’t want any thick rain clouds [ghanasyama] drenching My kunja!
Krishna: Come on Kisori, I am Cakri, wielder of the Sudarsana cakra.
Radha: Sorry, no need, My father has thousands of water pots [cakri].
Krishna: I am Madhusudana.
Radha: There are no blossoming flowers inside this kunja, little bee [madhusudana], so just fly away to some white flowers and drink some honey.
Krishna: What are You saying? It’s Me, Hari, your dearest!
Radha: I am very afraid of being scratched and bitten by a lion [hari]. So just run away somewhere into a deep forest!

May we someday come to Kosi, and hear this wonderful joking pastime of Lila Yugala, Radha Govinda.

** Nari-Semaré (near Chata)
These are two combined villages (Nari & Semari), of which, Semari is the residence of Syamala, a friendly sakhi of Radha. Here, Srimati Radhika is feeling so angry and jealous with Krishna that none of the sakhis even Her confidante Visakha-sakhi can break it. As advised, Krishna arrives disguised as a beautiful girl playing a vina.

Marvelling at her beauty and virtuosity in music, mystified Madhuri asks, “O sakhi, what is Your name and where are you from?”

Krishna [sakhi] “My name is Syamari. I am a celestial Kinnari, and I have come to entertain You.”

To reward Syamari for her stunning performance, Radha starts to drape a costly diamond necklace around Syamari’s lovely neck.

But Syamari [Krishna], immediately lifts her arms to stop Radha while begging with folded palms, “O sakhi, I don’t need a diamond necklace. I just want You to give up your sulky angry mood [maan].” Seeing through the ruse, Radha immediately wraps Ramana in a tight loving embrace while all the sakhi/manjari’s cheer:

“Jai Jai Sri Radheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee—SYAMA!” Thus the village is named.

** Baithäna (Baithana)
Name derived from baithaka [sit]. Here Nanda Baba, Upananda and the village chiefs sit down to discuss the welfare of Krishna, Baladeva and all Vrajavasis in Baba’s kingdom. It’s said that the love and hospitality of Vrajavasis here was so amazing, that only in this village did Sri Sanatana Goswami stay for more than one night as he wandered around Vraja Mandala.

** Rasauli Grama
Near Kotvana and Chota Bhaitan. Puranas say this village is the actual, original site of the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.29-33) Maha Rasa Lila. Hence the name Rasa-uli.

In 2017, Sri Pandit Baba personally showed us this lila sthali, with its Rasa mandala, forests and small “Yamuna” river meandering between its sandy banks. Indeed, a very beautiful, tranquil divine spot.

** Kamara [blanket/lust]
Village name is derived from a lila involving a woollen blanket and divine, spiritual desire or love [kama]. Feeling extremely eager to meet Priyaji and all the gopis, Priyatama Syama summons them all to His side. Radhika and the playful sakhis decide to play a trick on Krishna. Without Syama seeing, the sakhis snatch Krishna’s favorite black blanket [kari kamara] and hide it.

Not finding it, Krishna goes home to complain to Maa Yasoda: “Maiya, while I was grazing cows just now, the pesky sakhis stole My blanket. When I ask them to return it, they say, ‘O Kanhaiya, I saw Your old blanket floating in the Yamuna.’ Maa, another sakhi then says, ‘Hey Gopala, I saw a cow eating Your blanket.’ A third sakhi then teases Me, saying, ‘If you dance for me, then I will buy You a new blanket.’

Maa Yasoda caresses Gopala to her bosom, and says, “O Lala, don’t worry, just go back, and I am sure the gopis will return your blanket.” Upon returning, the gopis give back the black blanket, and then lead Syama into a dark, shady Keli Nikunja to dive in the waves of Radha’s mysteriously sweet love.

Krishna Kanhaiya ki jai! Radha Govinda Yugala ki jai!

** Basosi
Village near Sesasayi. When Krishna comes here, the bees hover all around Syama, smelling the sweeter than sweet fragrance of Krishna’s transcendental form. Basa means fragrance and so the village name, Basosi.

While throwing colors on each other here during Holi, Krishna and the gopis fill the atmosphere with the beautiful flower-like, sandal-scented, natural fragrance of Their beautiful limbs.

** Paya-gaon
10 km. east of Kosi. Feeling hungry because His tiffin has not come, Krishna, Dou and all the gopas do madhukari here, and drink the milk [paya] loving offered by the sweet hands of the Vrajavasis.

** Sesasayi
While sporting here with Srimati and the damsels of Vraja, Krishna tells the lila of Visnu lying on the snake bed of Anantasesa in the milk ocean. Entering the bhava and lila of His form as Anantasayi, Sri Krishna lies down on a huge lotus flower in the middle of a clear water lake.

Srimati adopts the bhava of Visnu’s consort, Laksmi-devi, and massages Krishna’s lotus feet. Astonished, the gopis look on and cheer, “Visnu Visnu Visnu! Syama Syama Syama! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!”

Here today, one can see a large lake called Ksirasagara.

** Kashrata
Kashrata means [exercise or wrestle]. While Radha-Krishna and the sakhis play and sport here, Radha says, “O Pranavallabha! You always boast about your strength, and how You’ve defeated the strongest gopas like Sridhama and Subala!”

Krishna interjects, “That’s right, no one in the whole universe can defeat Me!”

Radhika replies, “O yea? If that’s so, then now just wrestle with us. If by chance you defeat us, then we will believe Your boasting.”

Radha removes Her bangles, ties up Her hair, and folds Her dress. Slapping Her arms like a wrestler, Rai starts tussling with Syama. Within minutes, Radhika easily pins Krishna on the earth. Then all the sakhi/manjaris clap their hands excitedly while crying out happily, “Jai Sri, Jai Sri, Jai Sri Radhe!”

Radha-Krishna nitya Vraja madhurya lila ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

VARSANA AREA LILA VILLAGES

My wisdom teacher once said, “Prema is everywhere available in Vraja Mandala, but especially in Varsana!”

I replied, “Really, but what about Radha Kunda?”

Teacher: “Yes, of course there, BUT in Varsana—PREMA IS RAINING FROM THE SKY (prema-varsha)!!!”

Come! Let’s go to Varsana, and get drenched and completely soaked in Radha’s rain shower of mercy, compassion and love. O, What an amazing sacred place? Ahh, My Vraja Dhama!

Please, O Radhika! I beg you with tears in my eyes, “May I live here eternally in the cooling shade seva of Your sweeter than sweet lotus feet.”

In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can see, feel and touch two transcendental villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila to lila, and on into Krishna’s heart. Vraja Bhumi ki jai!

Ajhai
After Krishna bewildered Brahmaji (brahma-vimohana lila), the cowherd boys came here and exclaimed, “Today (aja) Nandulala killed the monster snake Agha!”

Jainta
In this village, Krishna is remembered for killing Aghasura. At that time, the devatas cheered happily, “All victory to Bhagavan Sri Krishna, all victory to Him!” The gopas also chimed in to saturate the sky with a tumultuous sound of “All victory (jaya:jainta), all victory!”

Sihona (now Seyano)
Upon hearing of Agha’s demise, the elderly Vrajavasis repeatedly glorified Yashodanandana saying, “Krishna is so clever, very very clever (seyano) and strong!” (Krishna seyano hoya gayo hai).

Deravali Grama
When coming from Gokula and Chattikara in route to his ancestral home in Nandagrama, Sri Nanda Baba and his clan camped (dera dala) here overnight.

Ranavadi
This amazing lila village is significant for two pastimes, and the phenomenal disappearance of Siddha Krishna Dasa Babaji around 1865 a.d.

Within the sacred transcendental kunjas of this place, Sakshat manmatha-manmatha Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Mahabhavati Srimati Radharani often enjoyed playful games and love battles (rana).

Also at this lila sthali, Krishna and His comrades once met Kishori and Her band of heavily armed sakhis. They all fought a terrible yet hilarious battle of colors; each gleefully drenching and powdering the other in a barrage of rainbow colors. “Ho Ho Holi hai!!!” Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

BAELVANA & BHANDIRAVANA LILA VILLAGES

Jai Ho! Vraja Dhama ki jai! Radharani Sarkar ki jai. In parts one and two, we wandered together through the lila villages of the Kamyavan area. Now we will visit the eastern side of Yamunaji, and hear of little lila villages near the famous lila-sthalis of Bhandiravan and Baelvan.

Vraja Dhama! O, What an amazing sacred place? In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can visit two villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila to lila, and on into Krishna’s heart.

Venuya
A sweet little lila village on the bank of Yamunaji named after Shyama’s enchanting venu flute, which Manohara played one day to steal the hearts of His darlings.

Sarakoriya
One day, Gopalaji was playing here with His gopas. Some of Krishna’s pals said, “O Gopala! We are very hungry! Could You somehow arrange to feed us some milk?” As soon as they said this, pots of fresh milk suddenly appeared all around them. The boys laughed and drank to their hearts content. In jest they started churning the milk into cream and then relished it in great bliss. In honor of this divya-lila, the village has been known for 5,000 years as Sarakoriya (saram, cream; koriya, to make).

Chaheri (today: Vijauli)
After boisterous wrestling in Bhadravana, Krishna, Balarama and the cowherd boys came here to relax in the luxurious shade and honor prasadam. Chaheri comes from chaya meaning shade.

Kinarai
One day the sakhas came here enjoyed vigorous frolicking on the banks of the Yamuna. Kinara means riverbank.

Jayapura
One day the sakhas trounced Govinda here in play. They cheered loudly in unison, “Hai! Hai! Jai! Jai! O Krishnaji! Every day You win, but today we soundly defeated You. Ha! Ha! So You must treat us with fresh cream and yogurt from Nandalaya!”

Our next magical, wonderland tour of mystical Vraja will take us to the Varshana area.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Come, let us wander through the far western corner of Vraja Mandala to uncover more hidden lila sthalis. Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

MORE KAMAVANA AREA LILA VILLAGES:

Pashopa (cow hoofs)
In this village, Krishna and Balarama and lots of cows once slipped away from the cowherd boys and wandered from forest to forest. After sometime, the gopas realized that Krishna and Balarama had gone away somewhere. However, the clever boys followed the hoofprints (pa) of the cows (pashu) and soon found the playboy brothers, Kanai Balai.

Virara
One time Rasabihari performed the Rasa dance here with the gopis. Afterwards, the sakhis made a luxuriant soft bed of fragrant flowers for Shyama to rest upon (virara from vishrama).

Badali
Once on a sizzling hot summer day Sri Krishna sat here with all the Vrajavasis. Everyone prayed to Krishna to please do something to relieve them. Soon a cool wind appeared there and refreshing rain (badala) poured down to everyone’s delight. Ghanasyama Radhe Radhe!!

Nagala Hara Narayana
Once Sri Krishna displayed His 4 armed Vishnu form here to please Radha (Hara).

Nagala Harasukha
Once Sri Krishna satisfied (sukha) Radha (Hara) and gopis here in all respects, each according to her own desires.

Kanabada
Here the gopis once dressed Srimati Radharani as a Queen. One gopi played as Radha’s gatekeeper; another one acted as Kishori’s footservant. After sometime, Krishna, Subala, Sridama and other boys, disguised as Vraja damsels, arrived and asked the gatekeeper to allow them to meet the Queen.

The gatekeeper informed Radha of Her “guests”, and Radhajeu asked, ‘Who are they?’ (ku uhara). Hearing Kishori’s inquiry, Krishna and His pals, fearing they may get caught, slowly slipped away into the deep forest. Because Sri Krishna fled after Radhika’s inquiry, this place has been called Kanabada.

Dana
One day the sakhas saw a torn and crumpled peacock feather (dana) here. Taking that proof, they concluded that Krishna had surely danced there among some joyful peacocks.

Nagala Sita Rama
Here in order to enjoy Rama-lila, the sakhis once dressed up Sri Krishna and Radharani as Sita-Rama.

Kanabadi
One day Nandanandana came here in a maddened state, shouting, “Whose (kona) home (badi) is the home of My dear sakha?”

Papadi
In this quaint village, the sakhis once decorated the Playful Pair Radha-Madhava with a throne, crowns and garlands all handmade from flower petals (papadi).

Vanacariya
Once some sakhas sat here glorifying their bosom friend Shyama: “It appears that our Govinda always moves in the forest (vanacari) either with His cows in the day or His gopis in the night.”

Parehi
Once the sakhis prepared a beautiful kunja and then invited Krishna to come. When Krishna arrived some sakhis began laughing at Him for some reason or other. Seeing this, Krishna said, “Listen, you all bring Me to this secluded forest bower, and then start laughing at Me. If you do that again, then I will never come anymore afterwards (parehi).”

Niganya
Here the sakhis told Gokulendu, “Was that You who distracted us while we were fetching water by playing on Your captivating flute? Krishna replied, “I did not play the flute (ham nahi gaya)! Perhaps it was somebody else.”

Pai Grama
One day Radha and Krishna all the sakhis played hide-an-seek here. Krishna hid in the deep dark forest. After a long search, Priyaji and Her sakhis finally got (pai) there Priyatama here.

Tiloyara
At this place, Radha-Madhava intimately enjoyed complete bliss without a moment’s (tila; literally a sesame seed) interruption.

Vichora
Once Shyama enjoyed love sports here with His dearest sakhi Chandramukhi Radha. When departing for Their respective homes, Radha-Govinda both felt unhappy because of separation (viccheda).

Bhulavana
This is not a lila village but an unforgettable forest.

One day Krishna and the cowherd boys came here, and everyone except Krishna dove into an ocean of playing. In a forlorn mood, Krishna sat under a kadamba tree lost in thoughts of Kishori.

Subala came and said, “O sakha! What’s happening with You? Who are You contemplating? Why don’t You speak, get up and take part in the games?”

“O Subala” replied Krishna, “As soon as I think of Radha I forget (bhulano) everything else!”

Khambi
Douji often played in this village. Once to indicate that this place is on the northern frontier of Vraja, Balarama lifted a huge stone pillar (khamba) and stuck it in the ground. It is still visible today!

Hasanapura
Here the playful cowherd boys once asked Govinda, “O sakha! How did You as a tiny toddler kill that fiendish witch Putana? Laughing (hasya) heartily at their question, Krishna replied, “This was just an ordinary pastime of Mine. Who can understand the extent of My potencies? I can do anything at any time!”

Thus ends the Kamavana Area Pastimes. Next article we will discover more astonishing places and pastimes.

Sri Dhama Vrndavana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Welcome all lovers of Vrindavana! This is part one of our continuing series of articles glorifying Sridhama Vrindavana.

Vraja [aka Vrindavana] is the divine realm wherein Sri Krishna loves, plays and sports with all and everyone. If you simply visit Vraja or live in Vraja, Gopala will enchant your heart by His sweet love, beauty, charm and naughty playfulness.

Filled with thousands of temples, Vrindavana is known as a “temple town”. In fact, the entire 168 sq. mile area of Vraja Mandala is adorned with thousands of temples, sacred places, mountains, rivers, lakes and bathing tanks.

Bhakti-ratnakara, a 500 year old holy book penned by Gaudiya Acarya Sri Narahari Chakravarti, describes over 300 different inhabited villages still existing today in Vraja Mandala. Each village is named after and commemorated to a particular amazing pastime of Sri Krishna which occurred there.

Vraja Dhama ki jai ho! This is such a unique and captivating sacred place. In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can visit two villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila-to-lila, and on into Krishna’s heart.

These articles are meant to increase attract everyone more and more and more to this most astonishing, wonderland of pure love and never ending play. Sri Krishna’s pastime villages will be grouped by area like Kamavana, Varsana, etc. The villages will be listed by their modern names. The origin of that name will appear in brackets after its English translation. Sri Vraja Dhama ki jai!

KAMAVANA AREA LILA VILLAGES:

Dhuleda Gaon (gaon means village)
This village is so named, because here the whole sky filled with dust (dhuli) from the hooves of cows as Govinda drove them home.

Udha
Named after Uddhava (udha), who rested here while en route to Nandagrama to deliver Krishna’s message to the gopis.

Atora
Here Krishna, Subala, Sridama, Bhrnga and the gopas would frolic here for eight (atora) hours a day.

Bajhera
This is the appearance place of two of Radhika’s asta-sakhis, the twin sisters Rangadevi and Sudevi.

Sunahara-gaon
Sona or suna means gold and hara means Lord Shiva or take away. Here Srimati Radharani removed Her golden necklace, and offered it in worship to Mahadeva Lord Shiva.

Nagala Moti (nagala means town or village) Here Sri Krishna hung a string of pearls (moti) on the beautiful smooth neck of Kishori.

Nagala Khapana
Madhava then suddenly ran away after offering Srimati the pearl necklace. Swamini Radha asked a sakhi, “Where has Krishna suddenly gone after getting some type of message (khapara)?”

Malapura
One day while cavorting in the forest, Gopala Shyama boasted to His playmates, “I can do anything at any time!” Challenging Nandulala, the gopas said, “Ok, Gopala! Then bring us lots sweets (maala) like rabri, laddus, and kheera. And if the plate remains full even after we stuff ourselves, then we will believe you can do anything!” It came to pass and so the village is named. Even today everyone here remembers and talks about that lila of 50 centuries ago! Vrindavana Dhama ki JAI HO!

Didavali
Yashoda’s mom lived here, and thus it is famous as the village of Krishna’s grandmother (didi ma).

Ghata
Once while cow herding here, Shyama remembered the vastness (ghata) of Priyaji’s love and called out, “O Subala! Quickly bring My Praneshvari here!”

Paramadara
Once the sakhis came to this lonely village searching for Shyama. In the pangs of separation, Ishvari Radha tightly embraced a glossy black tamala tree. Then upon seeing a nearby lake, shimmering with a dark blue hue, all the sakhis fainted. Suddenly Shyama arrived and fully (parama) worshiped (adaraniya) each gopi by satisfying her every wish and whim.

Nagala Maharani
Here the sakhis sat Srimati on a throne to honor Her as the greatest Queen (maharani). They adorned Radharani with lots of flowers; played instruments; sang and danced all around chanting……. Maharani ki Jai! Radharani ki jai! Bolo Varsane walli ki jai, jai, jai!!!!

Pahalabada
Here the gopas challenged Krishna, “If alone You can defeat all of us together in a wrestling match, then we will say You are strong and powerful.” Feeling a little afraid and doubtful about their collective strength, all the sakhas started goading each other, “O bhaiya! You attack (pahela) Krishna first.” And guess what? Sri Krishna defeated everyone and became Ajita Sri Krishna ki jai!

Kalyanapura
Here all the cowherd boys once playfully offered dandavats to the Divine Duo while roaring, “Krishna Kanhaiya, Douji ka Bhaiya ki jai!!!!!!” Responding, Krishna Balarama blessed them all, saying, “May all be auspicious (kalyana) for you!”

Khona
One day to make Radhaji happy, the sakhis started laughing and jumping here in a game called “Kho” (a girl’s play). Hence the name Khonha.

Kayarika Nagala
Once while Sriji and the sakhis were playing the game of Kho here, evening arrived suddenly and covered all directions in dense darkness. While walking home to Varsana the sakhis became scared. So they called out, “O Krishna! O Prananatha! We are afraid of this darkness (kari), so quickly come save us!”

Sri Krishna then fully illuminated the road all the way to Varsana with the effulgent rays of His beautiful smile. By the mercy of Priya-Priyatama, watch here for more nectar from the Wonderful Land of Play.
Sri Dhama Vrndavana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!